Fernwood Fitness launches wellness club, Fusion

By Sarah Stowe | 09 Sep 2021 View comments

Iconic women’s fitness group Fernwood Fitness has launched a brand new wellness concept, Fernwood Fusion.

The first franchise is set to open in October in Richmond, Melbourne with a much smaller footprint than the big box style Fernwood Fitness gyms, just 200-300sqm.

There is a target of 10 units in the network by the end of 2022 but “the sky’s the limit” for long term expansion, reveals Caitlin Jury, general manager of operations and marketing at Fernwood.

The Fusion concept is focused on a women-only boutique wellness program of classes in yoga, mat Pilates, reformer Pilates, meditation, barre and fusion.

Caitlin told Inside Franchise Business, “There’s always a place for a big box gym and we’ve started to introduce wellness and 47 out of 74 clubs do Pilates, and have some form of wellness. But Fusion is a niche market.”

While there are other gyms taking on wellness concepts they are still targeting a younger market, she said.

“Fusion accepts all women of all fitness levels, from young and fit to the deconditioned customer who would never set foot in the big box gym.”

Caitlin points to the recuparative benefits of wellness classes, with doctors recommending reformer Pilates, mums returning after childbirth, and senior citizens suffering aches and pains.

In addition to the relaxed and meditative classes there will be some fusion sessions which introduce cardio workouts, ideal for members to step into as their fitness levels progress.

These sessions will combine yoga, mat and reformer Pilates and barre in a circuit program delivered on a video screen with practitioners on hand to give personal attention.

While Fernwood members would be familiar with a lounge area for members to relax and enjoy a coffee, the look and feel of the new model is a step away from a gym, with a signature aroma and soft music turning the space into a sanctuary.

These clubs will operate with a more intimate ambience and between 150 and 300 members.

For franchisees, the affordability of the Fusion model backed up by the same level of support that Fernwood Fitness franchisees receive is one attraction; another benefit is that the smaller footprint site is cheaper to maintain, and with a different staffing structure there are fewer labour costs.

Fusion also allows franchisees to invest in a Fernwood business without the significant outlay required for a big box gym, a typical Fusion investment would be around $200,000.

Franchisees can expect a streamlined model, with efficiencies introduced during lockdowns finding a long term role in the business. An online membership model has been developed so franchisees can still get revenue in any future shut down situations.

The Fusion model is open to new franchisees and Fernwood operators and with sites already spaced out up to 15km apart, in many cases a Fusion location can fit into a Fernwood territory.

“We’ve already got existing franchisees wanting a Fusion,” said Caitlin.

Ideal franchisees are interested in fitness, and are keen to empower women.